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1.  The Columbus Dispatch bites and chews on the bone of speculation over who will be selected to run for Ohio Attorney General.  We could feed the world on the amount of words wasted on trying to guess at something we can’t know until we, you know, actually know.

2. Try to follow Eric Mansfield’s blog, Have I Got News For You, this week as the Akron-Canton News goes off the air.  So sorry, Eric and the News’ followers.

3. Leading to War is a film you can watch for free on the Internet. Hattip to Ed Morrison on Brewed Fresh Daily who wrote:

How did our government lead us to war? How did it communicate to us – and to the wider world – the reasons and rationale for initiating military conflict? And how was our nation brought to support the profound decision to wage war against another nation?

This 72-minute film compiles archival news footage –- without commentary -– presented chronologically from President Bush’s State of the Union address in January, 2002 (the “axis of evil” speech), and continuing up to the announcement of formal U.S. military action in Iraq on March 19, 2003.

4. Helen Benedict’s oped on how women vets are getting shortchanged in medical care is a must-read.

5. Phew – I’m still a few years away from being amongst the elderbloggers but please do not misunderstand me: it is fantastic that blogging and social networking is catching on with the +50 year olds, according this Women’s eNews story.

6. This story about how Ann Brennan, David Brennan of White Hat Management fame’s wife, gave $6 million to her alma mater, the Elms, really bugged me when it first cropped up last year, especially in the face of White Hat Management executives lying to hide how much money they make. It still bugs me.

7.  Two days ago, I read this well-written and thorough post by Professor Kim Pearson on BlogHer about a horrifically racist and sexist image that had been posted on Daily Kos and eventually removed, though not until more than 100 comments had been left. There continue to be far too few discussions about the fact that anyone could think that such an image could promote anything of any use to anyone in the current presidential primary or general election, or at anytime for that matter.  But to the best of my knowledge, there’s been no word from the creator of the image, “OneCitizen.”  Beautiful, Also, Are the Souls of My Black Sisters and RaceWire have worthwhile posts too, among others that Kim mentions and can be found with a Google search.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:28 pm May 26th, 2008 in Media, Ohio, Politics, Remains of the Day | 4 Comments 

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From the New York Times tech blog, Bits:

At [the Hate in the Information Age congressional] briefing, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, an associate dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group based in Los Angeles, presented the organization’s annual study of online terror and hate. He said the group had identified some 8,000 problematic sites in the last 12 months, a 30 percent spike over last year.

Contributing to this precipitous rise was the proliferation of Web 2.0 services, which have made it easy to post videos to sites like YouTube and mint hate groups on services like Facebook and MySpace.

Rabbi Cooper said the threat from hate groups is real, not theoretical. “The Internet is a fantastic marketing tool,” he said.

You can download the study here. You can read the unofficial transcript of Rabbi Cooper’s presentation and the presentations of others who spoke at the briefing here (click on “unofficial transcript”).

The Wiesenthal Center’s employing a reporting system which they hope will combat the proliferation of hate sites:

But rather than proselytize against those powerful communication tools [in Web 2.0], the Wiesenthal Center is taking a cue from them and asking Web users to participate in a sort of digital community-watch program. It is asking people who encounter hate sites, videos or groups to email links to a new email address, ireport@wiesenthal.com. It will then work with law enforcement and ISPs to address those sites.

The study includes several pages of screenshots and names of specific sites deemed to be hate or terrorism sites.  It also includes a 10 step action plan to deal with the existence of such sites:

Communicate and challenge your kids: just because it’s posted doesn’t make it true or real. Don’t entrust this exercise to the school. Get directly involved. Talk with your children about hate groups and other extremist organizations. Make it clear there’s no place in your home for such. Ask them to share what they have seen on blogs, in games or websites that they think crosses the line; then develop online rules.

1. Hate is never cool. That means it’s never OK to download racist music or play online hate games —no matter who the target.
2. Help teach your child to learn to verify online postings. Go to websites that claim to teach people about various religions—but instead demonize its followers; show a page that claims to present new perspectives on slavery but actually seeks to whitewash a historic evil. Discuss a site that claims to teach about Martin Luther King Jr.’s achievements but actually seeks to tarnish his legacy.
3. Provide tools—on and offline that will help your child develop critical thinking. Make sure your child’s school is also addressing these issues.
What to do about a hate site:

4. First, make sure your child understands the difference between legitimate criticism or analysis and hate that seeks to rewrite history.
5. If you agree that “the line was crossed”, make the effort to contact the ISP. Urge them to abide by the Terms of Service and remove the posting and take action against the online bigotry. Involve your child in this process. Teach them words have consequences; so should actions. Push the ISP to respond beyond a generic email response.
6. If the web posting constitutes a quantifiable threat contact your local hate crimes unit and
7. Email iReport@wiesenthal.com with the link to the problematic posting.

What about Digital Terror?

Even before 9/11 Internet—accessed postings encouraged and taught young people how to build bombs and terrorize targeted enemies.

8. Zero Tolerance for any websites promoting illegal acts. Any web postings teaching how to act as a terrorist should be immediately reported. Not sure who should be notified? Forward link to ireport@wiesenthal.com.
9. Since 9/11, the Internet has emerged as a critical component of terrorists and their enablers for recruitment, command, control and propaganda. Among its 39 Principles, Al Qaeda lists ‘Electronic Jihad’. Young people are key targets of this effort, on blogs, in newsgroups and with the new 2.0 technologies. They need to let you know immediately when they come across any postings, videos, etc from Islamist extremists or neo-Nazi killers.
10. Go on the offensive. The Internet community, NGOs and governments need to invest in best practices, including multilingual leveraging of Internet technologies, in order to thwart the terrorists and racists campaigns to win over young recruits to their culture of hate and death.

What do you think? Realistic suggestions?  Realistic threat?  What if we do nothing?

I know I’ve reached such sites on very very rare occasions, maybe three times in the three years since I started blogging. I don’t seek them out and they don’t seem to seek me out either.   Where does free speech fit in? Does it?

And what about the linguistic thing – hate speech versus thought crimes or something – I seem to recall their being some bickering between conservatives and left-leaners in the Congress about labeling speech “hate” speech because conservatives felt it was penalizing thought.  Is this the same thing?

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:42 pm May 26th, 2008 in Civil Rights, Crime, Culture, Foreign Affairs, Government, Israel, Jewish, Law, Media, Military, Politics, Race, Religion, Social Issues | 8 Comments 

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Renee in Ohio aka OhioRenee aka Howard Empowered’s Renee tweeted about a Florida kindergarten teacher who used a child, who currently is in the process of being diagnosed with a developmental issue, as an example of how to mark tallies by asking his classmates to vote on whether or not he should be allowed back into the classroom. After saying things like he was “disgusting” and “annoying,” they voted him out of the class, 14-2.

Three articles which summarize what happened can be read here, here and here. The stories outline the child’s other issues and the teacher’s knowledge of those issues.

What do you think about teachers who engage in public ridiculing of a child in order to teach other children a lesson? What ever happened to the Dunce cap? Good riddance, or bring it back?  What about mitigating circumstances, for example, shame is an important emotion to possess and emote, but this teacher knew that this particular child has a developmental disability.

What if it were your child?

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 4:15 pm May 26th, 2008 in Culture, Education, Mental health, Social Issues, Youth | 25 Comments 

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I haven’t blogged in a long time about the Medical Mart/Convention Center project for Cleveland, athough I have been keeping an eye on it as other blogs follow the progress (if you can call it that).

The most recent news is that a public meeting was held this past Thursday to discuss possible locations of the complex. According to the Plain Dealer:

Downtown’s grassy malls emerged as the favorite location for Cleveland’s new convention center and medical mart at a public forum Thursday night.

About 100 people attended the meeting, sponsored by Cuyahoga County. Most who spoke favored renovating and expanding the existing Cleveland Convention Center on and under the malls and building a connected medical mart nearby.

The other option calls for a riverfront center behind Tower City Center connected to a medical mart in the old Higbee’s department store building off Public Square.

Ed Morrison critiques the process at Brewed Fresh Daily:

One conclusion is clear. After ten years of trying, Cleveland’s leadership does not have a clue about how to design and manage a civic process to get a convention center built.

Be sure to read the comments to that post.

I need to re-engage in the process, but not so oddly, it feels as though no amount of time passing changes what’s going on all that much.

Other perspectives on the issue of location:

Listen to and read about WCPN’s Regional News Story by David C. Barnett on the meeting.

Jeremy Borger attended the public meeting and blogs about it here in great detail.  He also links to his Twitter stream as he live-tweeted the event (look for tweets on 5/22/08).

Did you go? What do you think, whether you attended the meeting or not? Tower City locale, or the Lakeside Ave. spot at the current Cleveland Convention Center? Or somewhere else entirely?

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 3:20 pm May 26th, 2008 in Blogging, Business, Cleveland+, Economy, Government, leadership, Media, Ohio, Politics | 3 Comments 

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I don’t really understand how this all works, but go here and donate and help get Democrat Bill O’Neill, who is challenging incumbent Steve LaTourette, elevated to a level of even greater funding by people or groups bigger than you or me (how hard could that be!?). Here’s what ActBlue says:

Congratulations to Bill O’Neill for winning the Election Inspection poll for this donor bomb. Please donate some money to try to help the good Lietenant Colonel qualify to be endorsed by votevets and onto the DCCC Red to Blue list.

Good luck, Bill.

Ohio Daily Blog has more here.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:04 am May 26th, 2008 in Bill O'Neill, Campaigning, Ohio, Politics | Comments Off 

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This item from the Plain Dealer’s Metro blog is very sad:

The Women’s Community Foundation, which has supported programs for women and girls in Greater Cleveland for more than 20 years, will permanently close May 30.

“The economic times in Cleveland for fundraising are challenging,” said executive director Roberta Mancini. “We were in a state of limbo where we were just getting by, and that’s not what our mission is. Our mission is to make an incredible difference. . .”

The foundation, created in 1981, has given away more than $800,000, and was the only one in the community to focus only on women and girls.

The foundation has struggled financially, narrowly avoiding collapse in the mid-90′s.

The foundation’s endowment will be converted to a donor advised fund at the Cleveland Foundation. It will support programs for women and girls.

“I’m really encouraging people to continue to give to the fund,” Mancini said. “Our legacy will continue.”

I’ve known of the foundation since 1990, when I applied for a grant to fund the training of health care professionals to identify, assess and intervene on behalf of domestic violence victims who present in pediatric settings (Rainbow Babies & Children Hospital to be exact). Eventually, the Bruening Foundation came through, but I’ve referred other people to the WCF over the years.

Then, just this past December, I attended a luncheon hosted by the foundation that centered on The White House Project and getting women into leadership roles. The event was well-attended and there was no hint that the Foundation was in any trouble.

I haven’t worked in foundation relations since the late 1980s, but hearing of the demise of the Women’s Community Foundation makes me want to find a way to become more involved in those philanthropic organizations that fill a purpose. I hope the Cleveland Foundation makes the fund well-known because I know there is still a need.

Its mission:

Incorporated in 1984, the WCF began its philanthropic journey funding grants that support various woman-related community programs. Over 20 plus years, WCF has expanded its reach to include funding and programming events that address issues such as sexual harassment, domestic violence and mentoring. Each year, the foundation works to increase women’s access to vocational guidance, safe housing, medical information, childcare, educational opportunities, and financial guidance; and girls’ access to education, job opportunities, mentoring activities and health information. The WCF works towards raising the hopes and dreams of women and girls across the diverse population of Northeast Ohio.   The WFC uses grants to promote opportunities and foster social change in the Greater Cleveland Area. Grants are awarded twice a year, and can range from $2500 to $10,000. To find out more about WCF grant funding, please contact us at 216-622-0920 or email us a

Here’s info on who was funded in 2006:

WCF proudly recognizes 10 recipients of Winter 2006 grant funding for a grand total of $43,715 in awards. The programming initiated by the following grantees closely aligns with WCF’s two key funding areas: mentoring programs for girls and young women and financial education for women of all ages.
Cleveland Art Theatre
Support for the six-week Transitions after-school and Saturday mentoring and empowering program for girls ages 11 – 16. The program includes mentoring and peer group activities such as role playing, collage-making and videography.
Cuyahoga Community College Foundation*
Support for the Women in Transition/Displaced Homemakers Program, which teaches participants the Money Smart financial management curriculum.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Center of Greater Cleveland
The Truly Independent Lesbian Financial Seminar Series addresses the financial needs of lesbians: topics on starting one’s own business, first time home buying, financial management, financial planning and investing, and financial independence.

Ohio Business Week Foundation
Support for the weeklong summer Ohio Business Week Program, in which high school students learn hands-on about starting and running a business. Three female students from the Cleveland area will participate.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Cleveland*
The Taking Charge of Today, Reaching for Tomorrow Conference promotes healthy decision-making skills and self-esteem in girls, and it provides tools for adult caregivers and professionals to help teens through the changes and challenges of young womanhood.

  South Euclid/Lyndhurst School District/Charles F. Brush High School*
Funding for a new educational initiative within this school district, the MAC Sisters Program, that will address the achievement gap of African-American students, in particular African-American girls.
Transitional Housing, Inc.*
Assistance for the Woman to Woman Mentoring Program, a volunteer-driven intervention for the women of THI. The program supports a variety of existing programs: goal setting, tutoring, career development and computer literacy.
YMARI (Youth Mentoring And At Risk Intervention, Inc.)
Funding for the after-school Streets to the Stage Mentoring Program, geared towards girls aged 10-18, focusing on hip hop dance. A recital will take place at the end of the program.

Young Lives Greater Cleveland Area*
Funding for the Young Lives outreach program to pregnant and parenting teen moms, in the Collinwood neighborhood, through the sharing of ministry. Help will be given to the teen moms in securing the necessary resources needed in order to ensure their and their children’s ability to become independent, responsible and productive community citizens.

Youth Opportunities Unlimited*
Support for the Teen Parent Empowerment Program (Teen PEP) program that helps teen mothers on welfare build academic skills, life skills, and employability skills.

Here are some of their sponsors for their speakers’ series:


The Women’s Community Foundation would like to acknowledge the ongoing support of National City and Allegiant Funds. The participation of our lead sponsors is critical to the success of the Speaker’s Series!

WCF acknowledges these generous contributors who support the third annual Speaker’s Series:

Media Sponsor:

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:54 am May 26th, 2008 in Cleveland+, Education, Gender, Ohio, Women | Comments Off 

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The Washington Post education columnist, Jay Matthews, writes today about a new book called, Keeping the Promise? The Debate over Charter Schools. Matthews likes the book and likes the original premise of charters:

Journalists, particularly me, tend to get excited about charter schools, the independently run public schools that have produced — at least in some cases — major improvements in achievement for children from low-income families. The charter educators I write about are often young, energetic, witty, noble and pretty much irresistible. But their charter schools, which use tax dollars with little oversight, are relatively new and untried. Like all experiments, they could easily fizzle.

That is the point of a short, readable and fact-filled new book, “Keeping the Promise? The Debate over Charter Schools,” available for $16.95 at http://rethinkingschools.org. The seven chapters make the best case I have ever read for a skeptical attitude toward the nation’s 4,000 charter schools. For reasons I will explain, it did not change my view of charters, but it should spark, as the subtitle says, a thought-provoking debate.

The book was published in collaboration with the Center for Community Change, a 40-year-old organization dedicated to building community groups that focus on poverty. It has been looking at inner-city schools for a long time. Much of the book reflects its view that political and business leaders have overlooked, or even exacerbated, terrible classroom conditions. One of the most suspicious things about charters to many of the book’s authors is that they are often backed by wealthy corporate executives who, in their view, don’t understand what it takes to help poor children. [emphasis added]

That last line sound familiar to Ohio followers of charters? Well, here’s his next paragraph:

Parts of the book score direct hits on bad charter school laws and organizations, particularly in Ohio. Amy Hanauer, founding executive director of the nonprofit Policy Matters Ohio, reports that more than half of her state’s taxpayer funds for charters “goes to for-profit companies whose bottom line is sometimes less the well-being of the children than the balance of their bank accounts. The largest and most well-known of the charter operators, White Hat Management, had only two of its 31 schools make the federal benchmark of ‘Adequate Yearly Progress’ in 2006-2007.”

His main critique of the book:

…the book’s overall message is that charters are not what the happy stories in the media make them seem, and there should be better ways to improve learning. Many people agree with that thesis. But the book failed to make the case for me because it offered no compelling or widely available alternatives for the young educators I know who want to save this generation of poorly schooled kids right now.

Matthews points out that the book wants more piercing of the corporate veils connected to charters and wants the media to take a role in that but, he concludes:

The nation needs both charter schools and their invigorating critics to make educational progress on a national scale. I have seen how the smartest charter folks are inspiring and training a new generation of activist teachers. I hope those who prefer alternatives to charters will create schools that have the same impact. Then we will all be better off.

I’d like to see that chapter on Ohio.  But as far as piercing White Hat Management’s corporate veil, we know how that goes.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:40 am May 26th, 2008 in Business, Education, Statehouse | Comments Off 

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